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How Republican AGs Tanked a $3 Trillion Woke Climate Alliance

June 2, 2023

A group of Republican state attorneys general sent a letter in May to a United Nations-backed climate coalition, the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance, warning that it could be in violation of U.S. antitrust laws. Within weeks, nearly half of the alliance’s members bolted, leaving the climate project in disarray.

The turmoil at the Insurance Alliance followed investigations launched by state attorneys general into two other UN-backed industry coalitions, the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative and the Net Zero Bankers Alliance. Those alliances, founded in 2020 and 2021 respectively, aim to “accelerate [the] transition to a net-zero emissions economy” by pushing members to reduce investments in, as well as loans and insurance coverage to, high-emissions industries.

Such a coordinated campaign raised legal issues because its published target requirements are specific and its members control large market shares of their industries, according to Peter Bisbee, the executive director of the Republican Attorneys General Association. “The major fault with everyone in these Net Zero groups is it became very calculative,” he said. “You could see exactly what they were doing and how they were doing it, and a lot of companies were putting out very mathematical language of how they were going to achieve these targets.”

In the May letter, 23 state attorneys general warned the Insurance Alliance that it could be in breach of federal antitrust laws and their state equivalents that prohibit “agreements among competitors to issue uniform pricing policies, conditions of sale, production quotas, or otherwise limit the identity of their customers if those agreements will ultimately raise prices.”

“The push to force insurance companies and their clients to rapidly reduce their emissions has led not only to increased insurance costs, but also to high gas prices and higher costs for products and services across the board,” the officials wrote, adding that the group appeared to be targeting specific industries, including oil, gas, coal, and transportation.

Members of the Net Zero Insurance Alliance had already raised concerns about the coalition’s explicit target goals. Munich Re, an insurance company that dropped out in March, left citing “material antitrust risks.” And at least 14 others firms fled the coalition after receiving the May letter, including the $1 trillion insurance behemoth Allianz, Lloyd’s, Tokio Marine Holdings, and Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance. Just 16 members remain.

The United Nations Environmental Program is standing by the Insurance Alliance’s work. The group said in a statement that it “reaffirms its conviction ever since it initiated, convened, and launched the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance—that in order to successfully tackle the climate emergency, there is a fundamental and urgent need for collaboration, not just individual action.”